Parents at seven central Ohio school districts call for in-person learning this fall

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HILLIARD, Ohio (WCMH) — Kim Hartman believes there is growing support among Hilliard parents to reopen school buildings.

“I would like for day one for our kids to be in a school,” Hartman said. “We’ve got all the safety measures in place, we’ve got masks, and we’ve got partitions. They’re well aware of how to distance themselves now.”

Hartman helped organize a series of rallies Tuesday at seven school districts. Parents and students gathered in Bexley, Hilliard, Dublin, Westerville, Worthington, Southwestern, and Upper Arlington.

“I just think people want to be heard,” Hartman said. “I think more parents are realizing that doing this remotely or e-learning for another semester, it’s just hard. It’s hard on the kids. It’s hard on the families. It’s hard on the community. It’s hard on the teachers. So I think people just want to be heard. They want to have a voice.”

Hilliard is one of a number of school districts that have announced plans to start the new school year with fully remote learning.

“We really want our kids to be in school, in-person learning this fall,” said parent Amanda Powers. “We want to make sure we don’t flatten the curve of education. We feel that if you can go to a mall and go shopping, if you can go sit down at a restaurant and eat, if you can go to an amusement park or kids can participate in sports, then they should be able to sit down and go to school.”

Bobby Weimer, a parent, teacher and coach in Westerville, said he wants district administrators there to know that parents want to be part of the solution.

“We think that the risk of not returning to activities, not returning to school is greater than the risk of the virus,” Weimer said. “One of the purposes of our rally is to show them that we can comply with the things that they’re asking us to do and that we’re willing to do everything possible to make the return to school, the return to sporting events, safe for not only our kids but staff members, teachers, coaches and everyone involved.”

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